CHICAGO, Ill. — Arkansas set a season high for turnovers and a season low for shooting percentage Saturday against No. 11 Illinois in the United Center, and the combination contributed to the first loss of the season for the Razorbacks, 84-61.
For the second year in a row, Arkansas outrebounded the Illini. UA had a 42-40 edge Saturday and a 36-21 advantage in last year’s 62-58 loss to No. 20 Illinois in North Little Rock, but one reason the Razorbacks had a season-high 42 with a season best 21 offensive boards is because the Hogs made just 19 of 57 shots, 33.3 percent.
Illinois’ backcourt of Deron Williams and Dee Brown forced many of UA’s 21 turnovers. Illinois shot 45.6 percent (31-68) and got a combined 28 points inside from James Augustine (12), Nick Smith (10) and Roger Powell (six).
The Illini jumped out to a 10-2 lead with Smith scoring six points, and Augustine and Williams two each. Arkansas also lost Ronnie Brewer for a while when he picked up his second foul less than four minutes into the game. The Razorbacks also lost freshman forward Vincent Hunter to a dislocated right shoulder less than a minute into the second half. Hunter is doubtful for Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. home game against Southeast Missouri State.
Arkansas (4-1) was within 23-13 on a Brewer layup, but Illinois scored six straight, four by Powell, and the closest the Razorbacks came after that was 38-25, but Williams hit a driving layup at the buzzer to give the Illini a 40-25 lead at the half.
UA shot better in the second half, 39.3 percent, but so did Illinois (48.5). Illinois led by as much as 29, 77-48 with 4:40 to play, before the Razorbacks closed the game with a 13-7 scoring run.
Jonathon Modica led the team in scoring for the fifth time with 20 points and Brewer led the team in assists for the fifth time with three. Brewer also had 11 points, but he suffered seven turnovers. Modica (6-11) and Brewer (5-9) were a combined 11 of 20 from the field, and Rashard Sullivan came off the bench to have his best game of the year with four points and five rebounds while going two of two from the floor, but the rest of the team made just six shots in 35 attempts.
Olu Famutimi was just three of 11 from the floor, but he played aggressively and had season highs of 11 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Williams led Illinois with 17 points on six of 11 shooting and had 10 assists with just one turnover. Brown had 13 points and six assists.
Tuesday’s home game against Southeast Missouri is being televised by ARSN.